steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

High Windows

A few years ago I wondered in this journal why the ceilings of the Müller orphanages were so high. The consensus seemed to be that it was to aid ventilation.

As a postscript to that entry, I should add that I was talking the other day to a man who teaches in one of the orphanage buildings (now a Further Education college), and he told me that the windows were built deliberately high to prevent the orphans from looking idly out at the view. Not only that, but they angled the sills downward so that any athletic orphans (perhaps in training for chimney work) who managed to clamber that far would be unable to sit there, wasting time that would be much better spent hemming dresses or praying for an attitude of proper humility.

Whether he has warrant for this belief I don't know. I'd thought of George Müller as one of the good guys - but of course he may have believed he was doing the children a favour. "Life is hard," says the German proverb, "but it is good practice." And emptiness is its own contemplation, says Mr L:

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
Tags: bristol
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